Published in February 2021

It can’t have escaped your notice that we are seeing more and more women leaders; bringing invaluable qualities and important, necessary perspectives to the decision-making table. 

But it’s not just in the world of politics and business that women are making a difference. In my time as Chair of Excellent Development I have noticed that it’s often women who instigate and lead practical projects on the ground and who put in much of the hard graft to actually make things happen. We have so many inspiring stories of women who are taking action to empower themselves and their communities and become economically self-sufficient.

Take for example Mody Nyathi, an 81-year-old farmer in Zimbabwe. Never too old to learn, she has been leading the way in climate smart farming in her community. Now she is no longer dependent on hand-outs from her family but an inspiration to others. 

"8th March marks International Women’s Day. And it’s a chance for all of us to reflect on the contribution women are making in the board room, in governments and on the ground."

Sadly, some of the traditional roles women and girls have inherited prevent them from reaching their full potential. Collecting water for example, a job that falls mainly to women and girls, can consume the majority of the day which means there is often little time for anything else. But when liberated from the hard graft of walking many miles to collect and carry water, women are able to take on more fulfilling roles and girls are able to go to school and get a decent education. 

Lucia Guezane who lives in Wiriamo Mozambique is a case in point. Before a sand dam was built in her community, she spent most of her day enduring the back-breaking job of collecting and carrying water. Now she spends her time growing vegetables which she sells to buy clothes and school supplies for her children. That sand dam made all the difference to her, her son and three daughters.

Why am I mentioning all of this? Well, 8th March marks International Women’s Day. And it’s a chance for all of us to reflect on the contribution women are making in the board room, in governments and on the ground.

Supporting women to have access to quality, decent work and improve their livelihoods is vital for fulfilling women’s rights and reducing poverty. So, on March 8th I will be celebrating the progress women are making across the world and, in particular (in the context of our sand dam projects in drylands), how they are improving the lives of those who live in some of the driest parts of the world.

Please consider making a donation to Excellent so we can empower families in drylands to build brighter futures for themselves with sand dams and access to clean water

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